We went to an art exhibit opening and reception last night at Wailoa Art Center. Afterwards, my son, Little Brother, pouted all night because he saw me kissing the artist, “that man.” He cannot kiss me ever again, he says, and he rubs and rubs his skin with his shirt, to wipe off every last kiss that I give him. I try to explain that, actually, I was kissed BY the artist, that sometimes people kiss hello on the cheek just like others shake hands. But he will have none of it. This is not the first time we have had this conversation, but what am I supposed to do?
Spent the morning with Linus Chao, renowned international artist and official “Living Legend of Hawaii,” at his home halfway up the volcano. My daughter Mango is taking art classes with him and his wife this summer. Four hours of Chinese art in the morning with Mrs. Chao, a little lunch, then four hours of western art in the afternoon with Professor Chao. All Mango needs, Professor Chao says, is a little formal instruction, and she will be on her way. The Chaos must be in their 80s. He is Shandong, she is Dongbei, their voices full of the old accents that I love. He is so warmly effusive, shows me everything, never lets me leave. I cannot believe my luck, and I want to soak in every word.
The bon odori is not a spectator sport, you really have to get in there and dance (after you have eaten of course, that is the other big part of it — tempura, teriyaki chicken, Spam musubi, cone sushi, shave ice, manju, mochi, corn on the cob, saimin — I always have to take a moment to peek in on the temple volunteers cooking madly in the kitchen, big clouds of mochiko billowing, the sounds of tempura hitting the oil … and inhale).
Comments Off on Crossing boundaries and standing up for justice together. NoH8. Remembering Vincent Chin
Such a diverse group of the folks participated in the walk—many races, many ages, many religions, many orientations. Some of the older people actually remembered Vincent Chin from when he was waiting tables at the Golden Star Restaurant. To them, he was a guy from the neighborhood, a guy they knew. The younger people were shocked that such a thing could happen, that a man could kill another man because of the way he looked and never spend a day in jail. As I told the story of the Vincent Chin case, I encouraged folks to see past differences and recognize that we all have a lot more in common than not. We cannot always afford the luxury of dividing down various lines, keeping in our separate groups. Rather, there is power in coalitions and alliances. We are all in this together.
Comments Off on On Proms and Protocols–Figuring out the rules and creating new paths
So I am always pleased to see young Asian Americans (who are so much cooler than I will ever be) figuring things out their own way, not being constrained by the way things have always been done, creatively constructing something new. Why depend on a school photographer when you could have a talented friend take your prom pictures for you? Then Photoshop an explosion into the background? Now that is a prom photo worthy of showing my friend, Angry Asian Man.
Then, as I tried to decide whether we should go to Eastern Accents or Eastern Flame for Hao Hao’s birthday dinner, I got the news from Texas about Diane Tran, a 17-year-old honors student recently jailed for truancy, and I felt extravagant and shallow. They put her in jail, and I am sitting here thinking about cake recipes.